Expectations for 2012: The BYU game

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 30: Riley Nelson #13 of the Brigham Young Cougars throws against the Brigham Young Cougars during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on December 30, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This could be the final Utah-BYU game in a while. Though nothing is definitive, the lack of news concerning the future of this series should be troublesome for those fans who want to keep the rivalry going uninterrupted. With news last week coming down that Utah and Michigan were working on scheduling a home-and-home starting in 2014, the prospects of the rivalry lasting beyond this season grew a bit more dim.

That's not to say things won't be worked out in the end - however, I think we should brace for the possibility that this is the last Utah-BYU game for at least a couple seasons.

If that's the case, September 15th's game should be pretty epic and hopefully worth the long wait we'll see on game day, since kickoff isn't set until 8:00 that night.

Of course, I think we all would love a repeat of last year's beat down, but I think expecting a 44-point victory might be a bit too much. Still, last year was the first time a not-so-great Utah team beat the snot out of BYU since, really, 1988 and might indicate there is a growing shift in this rivalry. In fact, over the last eight games, three have ended in a Utah rout ('04, '08, '11).

Even so, most games do come down to the wire, as was the case last time these two teams met at Rice-Eccles Stadium. It took Brandon Burton blocking a field goal as time expired to preserve the victory.

Will we be in for another nail-biter, or will this rivalry game be an extension of 2011?

Here's a fun fact to chew on:

In BYU's last three seasons, they're 0-3 in week three - losing by an average score of 47-16. In fact, just so that you don't think it's a fluke, under Mendenhall, the Cougars are 1-6 in their third game of the season. That lone win came at home against UCLA in 2008. It might just prove to be a useless statistic, but it is pretty interesting nonetheless.

So, how does this year's rivalry game go down?

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